BE VOLUNTEER – Reminiscing, log fires & hibernation planning

As I sit here watching the thrills and spills from Pau on the tablet in front of a roaring log fire with mug of tea in hand, a hold on course gives me a few minutes to start planning what adventures to take next season – how far do you reckon it is to the Pyrenees???

Looking back on a fantastic season, it is hard to imagine topping it! I have been on some amazing adventures, made some fabulous new friends, enjoyed many days with old friends and have some amazing memories to keep me going through the off-season.

Poland was special, Badminton was surreal and Margaret’s carrot cake didn’t disappoint. What a season?! What was your highlight? Some great answers in this month’s BE magazine (including a mugshot of yours truly at Strzegom!) 

But it wasn’t all about the big classes – last season my faithful, long suffering eventing buddy Andy and I watched a green but clearly talented chestnut mare jumped a tricky three part combination at Solihull, jumping higher than the adjacent untamed hedge to avoid the gremlins in the ditch at part b – this year I’m watching the same combination on the live stream from Le Lion D’Angers in the 6 year old World Championships! 

The season in numbers:

Events attended – 33

Slices of cake consumed – lost count/better not confess to how many (yes volunteering is all about the cake)

Tractor tows – 1

Trips to the car wash – 1, well why bother washing it, I just treat the mud as an extra souvenir!

Funny jokes as told by Dave Thompson – 2

My BE season ended at Oasby a couple of weeks ago – the wonderful hospitality of Anna and Stuart Buntine, saying goodbye to most for the winter. I say my BE season, as Andy and I are truly mad and are doing Aston le Walls next weekend at their UA championships, I wonder if Margaret will be putting sparklers on top of the cakes?!

Whilst we all do it for the genuine love of a truly wonderful sport, most events are generous and like to reward their volunteers with token gifts – Bede Events I have to say do go above and beyond and Anna and her team organise several experience days as a way of saying thank you – this week I was lucky enough to join fellow Bede volunteers at the Army Animal Defence Centre in Melton Mowbray, a rare chance to see behind the scenes thanks to Sergeant Major Betts and meet all the Queen’s horses. Having driven past this place since I was a little girl, it was a great pleasure to be able to have a peek inside. Just a shame that Turkish, a stunning black Kings Troop gelding, wouldn’t fit in the car boot!

Thank you all for reading and sharing my volunteering adventures this season – if you fancy getting involved just contact your local/favourite event, I would bet my life savings that a ‘please can I get involved’ email will never go ignored.

Thank you to all the event organisers, sponsors, competitors and most of all, to all the equine heroes for making this season truly unforgettable. To my long suffering volunteer buddy Andy for putting up with me. And to Jess and EWW for sharing my adventures this season.

Off to get the calendar out and plan it all over again for next year, oh and fit in my other love of jumps racing – see you all next season